I witnessed Ohio’s execution of Dennis McGuire. What I saw was inhumane – from The Guardian

January 23, 2014 at 5:17 am (Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Foreign News, Human Rights, Uncategorized, United States) (, , )

I don’t know how any objective observer could come up with any conclusion other than that injection was an evil way to go

theguardian.com,              Thursday 23 January 2014 05.51 AEST

The last time I celebrated mass with Dennis McGuire, who was executed by the state of Ohio last week using an experimental two-drug concoction, it was the feast of the epiphany that marks the bringing of gifts to the newborn Jesus by the magi.

McGuire was one of just over a dozen Catholics among Ohio’s 147 death row inmates who come to mass weekly in Chillicothe Correctional Institution. As part of the sacrament of anointing, I asked the others to pass by and lay hands on McGuire as a way of giving our brother back to the Lord as a symbolic gift. When I turned round to face them with the oils, I found the other 12 standing around him, surrounding him as though they were offering him back to the Lord. Tears were streaming down McGuire’s face. That was the first time I’d ever seen him show physical signs of emotion.

I first began to visit Mcguire in November. He told me about the evil act he had committed, the murder in 1989 of a young woman Joy Stewart who was pregnant and whose unborn child also died. He confessed his sin to me, and expressed sorrow for what he had done. I said he should pray for forgiveness from the woman he had killed, and from that unborn child, and over the course of the final eight weeks, I know that he did. Read the rest of this entry »

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Save Australians on death row in Indonesia – Amnesty International

May 7, 2013 at 12:29 am (Amnesty International, Bali Nine, Death Penalty, petitions, Take Action) (, )

Update 6 May 2013: Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s office has made public statements urging Indonesia to grant clemency to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, and pledging to raise the issue again with the Indonesian Government. This is great news and we welcome Senator Carr’s statements.

It’s vital that our Government continues working through all possible means for clemency for Andrew and Myuran, and to promote the abolishment of the death penalty in our region. So we need to keep up the messages to Bob Carr and Julia Gillard, and show them that public support for this is not going away.

Send our Foreign Minister and Prime Minister a message now

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Brisbane World Day Against the Death Penalty Dinner

September 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm (Bali Nine, Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Events, Frank Brennan, Stephen Keim, World Anti-Death Penalty Day) (, , )

AUSTRALIANS AGAINST CAPITAL PUNISHMENT & AUSTRALIAN LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS invite you to join us at

Date: Friday 12th October 2012
Time: 6.30pm for 7pm start
Venue: Broncos League Club
98 Fulcher Road
Red Hill Qld 4054
Cost: $80 adult, $70 student/conc.
$70 pp for group (table of 10)
Bookings: http://www.stickytickets.com.au/8634
RSVP: Fri 5 October 2012
Enquiries & bookings (plus seating/dietary needs):
Please contact Tina at Justine.hampson@gmail.com

Australians Against Capital Punishment and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights warmly invite you to this year’s dinner in commemoration of the 10th World Day Against the Death Penalty. This Day is recognised globally as a reminder of the inhumanity of the death penalty throughout the entire process, from sentence to execution.

We are delighted to announce that our guest speakers include Fr Frank Brennan SJ, AO and Lee and Christine Rush, with Stephen Keim SC as MC.

We hope you can join us to mark this important human rights event.

For more information email AACP justine.hampson@gmail.com

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The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2010

June 9, 2012 at 6:57 am (Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Uncategorized) ()

PDF document  from Harm Reduction International Website

03 June 2010

Harm Reduction International released a study on the death penalty for drug offences today on the opening day of the 19th session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice , taking place in Vienna. The report, titled ‘The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2010’, finds that hundreds of people are executed for drug offences each year around the world, a figure that very likely exceeds one thousand when taking into account those countries that keep their death penalty statistics secret.

The report is the first detailed country by country overview of the death penalty for drugs, monitoring both national legislation and state practice of enforcement. Of the states worldwide that retain the death penalty, 32 jurisdictions maintain laws that prescribe the death penalty for drug offences. The study also found that in some states, drug offenders make up a significant portion – if not the outright majority – of those sentenced to death and/or executed each year.

……….. read more

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Death-row innocents trapped in a living hell – From Port Macquarie News

March 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm (Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, execution) (, , , )

04 Mar, 2012

In his 12 years on death row, Larry Swearingen’s execution date has been set three times. Three times he has known when he would be strapped to a stretcher and put down with drugs: sodium thiobarbital to anaesthetise him, pancuronium bromide to paralyse his muscles and potassium chloride to stop his heart.

In January 2009, he had written his goodbyes and was on his way to the chamber when the stay of execution came through. ”The way I had to look at it was, ‘I’m just gonna lay down and go to sleep,”’ he says. ”I wasn’t gonna grovel. I wasn’t gonna sit there and cry. I can’t be remorseful for a crime that I didn’t commit.”

Swearingen lives at the Allan B. Polunsky unit, an hour or so north of Houston. Along with another 292 men and 10 women awaiting execution for capital crimes committed in Texas, he is kept in solitary confinement. His cell is not quite four metres long and a little more than two metres wide, with a slit above head height, more a vent than a window. He has a toilet, a typewriter, a radio and a hotplate. His daily hour of recreation is spent alone, although he can talk and play chess, through gaps between the cells. Most of his companions are here because they have committed horrendous acts of violence.

Full story here.

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Stop the Execution of Mark Stroman – from Amnesty International

July 2, 2011 at 8:25 am (Amnesty International, Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Foreign News) (, , )

Mark Stroman is scheduled to be executed on July 20 for killing Indian immigrant Vasudev Patel in a series of shootings of people he believed to be Middle Eastern after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

One of his intended victims, Rais Bhuiyan, survived and opposes the execution.

Join Rais in taking a stand against the perpetuation of the cycle of violence by taking action to stop the execution. Read More »

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Chan holding up after failed appeal – from the ABC

June 19, 2011 at 9:46 am (Bali Nine, Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Foreign News, Indonesia) (, )

By Helen Brown in Bali and staff

Friends of Bali Nine inmate Andrew Chan say he is holding up well after learning his bid for a reprieve from the death penalty has been rejected.

Chan’s girlfriend was one of several shocked visitors to see the Australian this morning.

Chan has been on death row in Bali’s Kerobokan jail for more than five years now.

His girlfriend was too distressed to talk, but Melbourne-based friend Sally Warhaft, who spent three hours with him in the prison’s cramped visitor’s facility, says Chan’s biggest concern is for his family.

“I know his parents and I know how incredibly painful [it is] for Andrew… what they’re going through,” she said.

Full story here.

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Scott Rush’s sentence commuted to life in prison

May 10, 2011 at 10:47 am (Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Indonesia, Scott Rush) (, , )

Australians Against Capital Punishment welcome this decision of the Indonesia Supreme Court.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone involved in the campaign during the past years.

From the ABC -

Scott Rush escapes death penalty

By Indonesia correspondent Matt Brown, wires

Bali Nine drug smuggler Scott Rush has been spared the death penalty by a court in Indonesia.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd confirmed the decision in Parliament, saying Rush’s appeal against the death sentence had been successful.

Three Supreme Court judges reviewed the case and cut the death penalty back to life in prison.

Rush, 24, had been facing the death penalty for his part in a 2005 plot to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia.

It is understood the Supreme Court has granted his appeal on the basis that he had shown remorse for his actions, while also citing his age at the time as a mitigating factor.

Full story here.

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Stephen Keim’s speech at AACP/ALHR screening of “Conviction”

April 21, 2011 at 8:39 am (ALHR, Capital Punishment, Conviction, Death Penalty, Events, Stephen Keim) (, , , )

Let me welcome you here on behalf of both Australians Against Capital Punishment and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights. This joint function builds on the very successful David Marr dinner that we held last year. I see a number of faces from last year’s function and a number of new faces. In both cases, your support for the very important causes pursued by each organisation does wonders for us both logistically and in terms of morale.

A number of you will be aware that AACP was founded largely through the efforts of Chris and Lee Rush. The arrest of their son, Scott, in Indonesia, and Scott’s subsequent trial, appeal and imposition of the death penalty, of course, raised their consciousness of the inhumanity and injustice of capital punishment as a tool of the law.

What is impressive and singular about Lee and Chris’s reaction is that have not restricted their efforts to trying to save the life of their son but have campaigned strenuously through AACP against capital punishment everywhere and at all times. We share their campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

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America Losing The Urge To Kill – from The Age

February 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm (Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Foreign News, United States) (, )

Simon Mann, Washington
February 12, 2011

Last year, 46 people were executed in America, less than half the number in 1999, the peak year since the US Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.

”The death penalty is putting millions [of dollars] into getting one execution per state per year, if that,” says Richard Dieter, of the Death Penalty Information Centre. ”It’s just totally symbolic, totally political and that’s an expensive thing to keep operating just because it plays well in sound bites.”

Full story here.

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